The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East is expected to file suit Wednesday against more than 100 oil and gas companies for contributing to the disappearance of Louisiana’s wetlands. The lawsuit argues that decades of drilling, dredging and extracting has destroyed wetlands that once provided a cushion against hurricane storm surge, forcing the agency to spend more on flood protection.
Few would doubt that Louisiana needs both economic development and environmental rejuvenation. At Myrtle Grove, a small river town in Plaquemines Parish, those imperatives make for a critical dilemma: whether to put a priority on rebuilding the coastal land that has been melting into the Gulf of Mexico for decades or capitalize on the state’s geo-strategic location and beef up coal export facilities for hungry foreign markets.
A month ago I griped about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s preternatural luck. Louisiana’s “part time governor,” as I called him, had radically scaled down his dubious sand-berm idea without any negative political fallout. All summer Jindal had touted the berms as being key to winning the “war” against oil in the Gulf. Then he retreated, scaling down the plan, and neither the media nor the public turned on him.